Posts Tagged ‘21st mortgage’

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

June 19th, 2018 No comments


A) In manufactured housing production, the elephant in the room is Clayton Homes. They are owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which also owns the 2 largest industry lenders, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF). Berkshire also owns a large stake in the industry’s third largest single family manufactured home loan lender, Wells Fargo.

There are only three (3) options on the following topic. The Berkshire owned manufactured housing brands either:

1)     know very specifically what must happen to grow manufactured housing sales up to the industry’s sustainable potential, which some estimate to be between half a million and a million HUD Code manufactured homes (MH) annually.

2)     The Berkshire brands in MH don’t know what must occur to grow the industry to reach its potential.

3)     Some point on the spectrum between numbers 1 and 2 above.

That’s about 150 words. The rest are details and commentary.


B) Arguably, any of the 3 positions above ought to be alarming to the vast majority of the industry’s independents. Why?

The case has be made by voices inside and outside of MHVille, that the Warren Buffett led Berkshire brands in MHVille dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

While he’s been silent in recent months, MH Communities pro Frank Rolfe was among the industry’s professionals who blasted MHI and their “hypocrisy” and failed “leadership” in defense or promotion of the MHIndustry.

Marty Lavin, a MHI award-winner, said on-the-record that MHI only works for the interests of the big boys.” Lavin added that MHI only work for the interests of smaller companies if they happen to align with the interests of “the big boys.”

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was cited by the Washington Post (WaPo) as having been the driving force for the removal of Pam Danner at HUD. MHI‘s EVP Lesli Gooch specifically told WaPo they took no part in removing Danner. Why not?

We could outline other examples, on the Duty to Serve (DTS), DOE and the energy rule, or how Pam Danner got her job in the first place. MHI has been on the wrong side of numerous issues, plus the execution on other important issues.

The bottom line is that MHI’s track record are seen by several professionals as problematic, save for the consolidation of smaller companies into the hands of larger ones. That’s about 275 words. The rest are details and commentary.


C) So in about 400 words above, a case has been outlined. Logic and evidence-based concerns, plus common-sense reveals why the Berkshire brands and MHI arguably should not be trusted by the vast majority of MHVille independents. The rest are details and commentary.  We’ll invite them again to debate this publicly via video.  If we were wrong, why don’t they take us up on that invite and prove us wrong?


D) State communities associations have broken away from MHI. They are in the process of formalizing the launch of an independent manufactured home national communities association.

Those MH Communities have split because they lost confidence in MHI representing their interests. The rest are details and commentary.


E) Smoking Gun 3 documented and outlined how 21st Mortgage questionably pulled-back on lending to MH Independents in 2009. Hundreds of retailers folded afterwards.

As a result, a number of HUD Code manufactured home producers either failed, or were absorbed by Clayton.  Some where absorbed by Cavco, which is led by a former Clayton division president. Skyline Champion recently combined. Now 80 percent of the industry’s production is in the hands of those three vertically integrated firms.

The rest are details and commentary.


F) Manufactured housing is increasingly being recognized as the affordable housing solution that is hiding in plain sight. MHLivingNews touted that theme years ago. Others in media have been picking up on that very theme. Coincidence?

There is a need for 8.3 million affordable housing units in America today. It can only be provided cost-effectively by some form of factory building. HUD Code manufactured homes are the most affordable solution today.


G) Even though Clayton and MHI each have marketing and PR people, they have routinely allowed bad news stories that unjustly harm the industry’s image to go unaddressed. They have done so for years. 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, the prior MHI Chairman, admitted on-the-record that the case could be made that every unfair story about MH should get addressed. Frank Rolfe has said similarly.

The above is about 700 words total to say that MHI and Berkshire may not cause every bad news story in MHVille, but they fail to address the majority of them.

The upshot? Limited new home sales and more Consolidation. See what award-winning Alan Amy said about that in the video.


H) The MH Communities sector recognized their need for independent representation. Retailers and others in the post production sector arguably need representation do too. MHARR is clearly representing the interests of the industry’s independent producers, as WaPo, the SBA, George Washington University and other third-party sources reflect.


I) Is there any reason why the Berkshire brands couldn’t repeat what they did in 2009? Shouldn’t every independent operator realize that they have a symbolic target on their head?

The rest are details and commentary.


J) Thanks to our supporters, we planned ahead years ago by creating the industry’s first and premier pro-industry educational platform with

MHProNews was a key part of the rebirth of the Louisville Show, as everyone in show management at the time said on camera and/or in writing.

We’ve proven our ability to get into mainstream media, such as Washington D.C.’s The Hill. Or consider often-referenced by others in media, Value Penguin, which ranks among the top 2 percent of all websites in America. Value Penguin dwarfs anything in MHVille for traffic.


K) We and those that support our efforts know what must be done to remove the shackles that have hobbled manufactured housing for years. Information and understanding are the First Phase.

Armed with evidence and reason, we are at the cusp of starting Phase 2.

The details and next steps will follow in the days ahead. Stay tuned, and sign up for our industry leading emailed headline news updates. From the biggest names in MHVille, to the mom-and pops, and thousands in between, we continue to lead the industry in readership. The reasons include insights like those above.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:

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Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, “The Secret” – The Rest of the Story

January 2nd, 2018 No comments


I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house America.” – Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, to MHProNews.

What happened?

The Rest of the Story, 1…

Several of the brands that the industry knows today are not the same brand as they were a decade or more ago.

Palm Harbor. Fleetwood. Champion. The prior versions all went into bankruptcy, and later were reborn under a different structure.

But they are far from alone.

Literally thousands of manufactured home operations, including, but not limited to:

  • Retailers (dealers),
  • Land lease Communities (a.k.a manufactured home communities, “parks”)
  • Producers (builders of federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes, some build modular, park model, or other products too),
  • Lenders/Financial Services, and
  • a variety of other products, service, and component providers

have either gone out of business, or sold out to a larger/deeper pockets operation.

What happened?


Business Cycle, or…

Businesses start and fail every year. That happens for a range of reasons.

The question in manufactured housing ought to be this. Did numbers of the wave of thousands of failures/consolidations get an unethical/illegal shove to help them exit?

If so, how was that done?


The Rest of the Story, 2…

MHI’s SVP and General Counsel Rick Robinson publicly, and MHI in writing, have referred to our manufactured housing trade publications as news sources.


Trade media, as with all of the mainstream press, can include News, Analysis, and Commentary. On this Masthead, publisher’s blog, you find all three.

Claims, controversies, and allegations ought to be tested by reason and known facts.

We don’t publish capriciously, knowing that an error could be embarrassing. Still, readers should question, us and those we publish about.

Ask questions. Seek the truth. Such issues impact your business and bottom line.

We’re not a court of law, but fully expect to be called to testify under oath to a variety of matters that impact the manufactured home industry.


While courts won’t compel testimony about confidential, protected sources, they can ask about the reports themselves. The day is coming, we believe, when that takes place.

There will no doubt be lists.

Who did what?  Who supported, or opposed, what? Why?

Where laws broken?

Were steps taken that create legal exposure or liability:

  • for the national association (MHI),
  • its members,
  • or those who control it?


What Happened to Manufactured Housing?

While there are a range of factors, we believe in what’s obvious. What facts and common-sense reveal. There’s no need for a complex conspiracy theory.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took over Clayton Homes, Oakwood Homes, related lending, retail, and later other production, service, supplier businesses too.

Mr. Buffett’s a self-proclaimed, long-term thinker, and he likes “moats.”  Just consider what Buffett said, in his own words, and line that up with what’s happened in manufactured housing.

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…


“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

The executive committee and dues structures of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) make it clear that Berkshire Hathaway owned units exercise great influence at MHI. That control is widely known, in and out of our industry.  It’s just that few in manufactured housing (MH) dare say plainly and publicly that MHI is Berkshire Hathaway’s mouthpiece.

MHI, on issue after issue, has led the industry into dead ends, or avoidable, and even problematic places.

Who says?

  • Their former chairman, Nathan Smith, in a video that’s been hiding in plain sight. He voluntarily said that MHI had failed in the past at being pro-active.  The beginning and end of this video that follows are perhaps the key takeaways from 2:16 seconds.


  • Their former Government Relations Vice President (Later SVP), in an on-the-record statement he sent to MHProNews.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

  • Their former president, before exiting, in a written statement that may be more interesting today then the day it was first published in the Journal.

    While what Stinebert said is interesting, what may be more interesting is that he waited to exit MHI before he provided this list of concerns. Isn’t that a de facto admission that these issues – lending, image, education, etc. – are those that MHI failed to properly address? Click to download.

Then, there’s a range of comments by MHI members, researchers, attorneys, and others. Those statements, published on or off our sites, speak for themselves.


The Latest

MHProNews has learned from an informed source that MHI has executed non-disclosure agreements (NDA), allegedly with several MHI staffers.

What is MHI hiding?

Who are they hiding that information from?

MHI members?

MH Industry at large?

Public officials?

Are they trying to hide something that is scandal related, and/or something else?

Sexual Harassment-Not Just Hollywood, Media, Politicos-Manufactured Housing Workplace Claims, High Profile MH Cases Too?

Keep in mind, that MHI refused to release to this publication even items that sources tell us they are legally obligated to do so.  Items like their current and previous bylaws.

Why hide that, someone might ask?

With their bylaws in hand, one might be able to understand revealing issues.  For example, have their been prohibited conflicts of interest – that may have harmed other MHI members, and/or the industry at large?

Millions have been spent and years wasted pursuing the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

In hindsight, isn’t it obvious that it would never pass while Barack Obama was president? Didn’t MHI’s own VP said as much, years in advance? Again, see the link to MHI GR VP, Jason Boehlert, above.

We have documents from 21st Mortgage, signed by Tim Williams.  Mr. Williams was MHI’s chairman for years.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

No one has claimed these 21st documents aren’t authentic.

In fact, we have dozens within Berkshire Hathaway owned units – including their top people – who we are reliably told have carefully reviewed those report, and the others in our periodic series of reports on MHI and Berkshire Hathaway.

We’ve given

  • MHI,
  • their executive committee,
  • and top people at Berkshire Hathaway owned brands the
  • chance to rebut, clarify, or refute our reports and analysis.  We’ve invited them to share statements on these issues that we’d publish.

Field Reports – Clayton to Continue Push for Industry Dominance

After years of MHI publishing or commenting with us, about a year ago, they largely stopped even answering questions.  Why?  Is it because their own words have so often pointed a finger against their own actions?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

Don’t be surprised if they publicly push back in 2018.

At some point, don’t they have to, to keep their consolidations going?


For the 400 word executive summary, click the above.

MHI et al have already pushed back privately to our allegations and reports, in a variety of ways that we have documented for the appropriate time.



What Happened, Part Three

We rely on industry inputs and insights. So, we don’t write or do videos out of thin air. We’re followed by businesses and professionals across the size and political spectrums, in part because we’ve got the “street cred,” as one executive put it.

MHI has significant influence over state associations.

So, MHI “housing alerts” or “MHI News” they send to their own members are also arguably “weaponized” to reflect whatever the insider groups want, and reach well beyond their own membership.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

As an MHI connected source told us last year the following bombshell. The big companies have figured out how to get what they want, by using MHI – and the smaller companies are helping pay for what the big firms desire.

We’ve observed that previously, ‘Feeding the hand that bites yours,’ but to hear it as an admission from an insider, that’s telling.

There are two prime sources of in manufactured housing that have proven willing to push back publicly on MHI and their methods.

  • MHARR, and
  • LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC ( trade media.

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

MHARR and we are independent of one another.  That’s healthy and good.  We’ve at times taken editorial positions that were contrary to MHARR’s view.

Frankly, at times, we later discovered that MHARR was correct.


There’s an affordable housing crisis that is raging, and growing.

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

It has often tragic, real world, consequences.

NLIHC CEO Responds on HUD’s Worst Case Housing Needs Report, MH Leader Reacts

Homelessness in America, and Factory-Built Housing

Manufactured housing has enhanced preemption, under federal law.


That enhanced preemption could allow manufactured home retailers to ease the affordable home crisis for potentially millions of Americans, without taxpayer dollars being needed.

Harper – Thank You Rev Donald Tye, Fighting for Enhanced Preemption of Manufactured Homes

Yet, MHI has often failed to push HUD on a variety of issues.  MHI’s been forced to pivot on a range of issues.


You can fool some of the people some of the time


Warren Buffett said it in his own words.  Mr. Buffett doesn’t expect people to learn the lessons of history.  He expects to build his moat.


He even publicly supported the candidates that gave the industry the very thing that Tim Williams, then MHI chairman, said they were working to undo.

Documented Conflict Between 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, MHI Chair, and Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

What Happened?

Isn’t the truth hiding in plain sight?

Frank Rolfe is like the rest of humanity, right on some things, wrong on others.  One can safely bet that he’s 100 percent in favor of whatever he believes his and his partners interests to be.

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

Rolfe criticized several MHI initiatives and what he said where their failures to act.  Recently, Rolfe want silent.  Isn’t 21st Mortgage – owned by Berkshire Hathaway – one of the companies that advertise on his website.  Coincidence?

Frank Rolfe: Pressured into Silence? Manufactured Housing Industry, and Journalism

If every person we’ve accurately quoted suddenly changed their tune, one would have to ask the questions a journalist does, starting with, Why?  

There will be lists.

People will follow the money, and analyze it – within and outside of MH.


MHProNews and others are and will be taking names, and organizations.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

With the Trump Administration signaling anti-trust (anti-monopoly) actions in the future, and with Democrats also pushing the anti-monopoly theme, will it be a surprise if hearings are held about manufactured housing?

President Raises the M-Word, “Monopoly,” Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Market Update$

Warren Buffett, per third parties, has a big concern once he passes; the break up of his empire.

Who Will Replace Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway? Expert Insights, Video & Manufactured Home Industry Outlook

You’re one of the best things we have going [in manufactured housing.]” – Terry Decio, to MHProNews/MHLivingNews.

There are those who realize that we’ve worked for years to get the truth out about the glories of manufactured housing, which includes the realities that there are millions of happy home owners.

Manufactured Home Owners – Satisfaction Survey Redux

But those positive efforts have occurred while MHI has either sat on its hands – or arguably worse – tried to undermine the very pro-industry growth steps we’ve spotlighted?

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

Some love the meetings, and the MHI comradery at MHI meetings.  I enjoy those social and networking things too, so I get it.  But to some, they can’t get passed the  fact that they like certain people, and they therefor can’t imagine someone with ill intent taking advantage of them.


To those, let me suggest the lesson of detective character, Sherlock Holmes, that may help make sense of how the apparent outrages alleged are possible.

Give us a logical,  alternative explanation.  Do it on-the-record, please. Let’s debate MHI effectiveness and their behaviors in recent years, on the record via video for all to see, please.



Did BH use MHI – past and present – and the power or regulatory burdens throttle an industry that was poised for serious growth?

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Didn’t MHI have the ability to end some of that burden by negotiation, and fail to take that option?  Why?


How could Harvard have missed their projection for manufactured housing domination?

Are stressed, busy MH Professionals missing the truth hiding in plain sight of how MHI shifted since Berkshire Hathaway took control of their organization?

Appealing Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Marketing, Finance Booklet Reviewed

Could that shift have been through a Buffett-style moat-plan?

Alan Amy isn’t alone in this observation stated in this focused video.

The day will come when the constraints on manufactured housing could be lifted.  When enhanced preemption will be enforced.  When that day comes, what will be left among the manufactured housing independents that existed a decade ago?



Manufactured homes were predicted by a Harvard researcher to dominate by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. What happened? Accident? Or a moat like plan, hiding in plain sight, executed by MHI?

Did they get an unethical, liable, or illegal push?

The Decio family had Art featured on the cover of Time Magazine decades ago, what happened since then?

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Keep in mind, while there are several sources for information, there are to my knowledge only – broadly speaking, two – which have been willing to seriously take on BH and MHI.

MHARR and ourselves.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) Finds Manufactured Home Industry Support for Reform bill

MHI took themselves out of the picture of routinely communicating with us, about a year ago, after an initial series of exposes and analysis we published on them.  Coincidence?

Why is it that state associations, or MHARR, are often more successful than MHI?

McCrory Lawsuit – “Significant Victory Against Zoning Discrimination” – Manufactured Homes

Associations are supposed to be a tool for businesses to work together to impact regulatory and other issues.

What would do you do when you discover that your national association has been working the interests of the majority of the industry’s independents?

Do you keep feeding the hand that bites yours?

In my days as a manufactured home retailer, we used to advertise on a station as the sponsor of famous Paul Harvey’s, “The Rest of the Story.”

You don’t know all of it, but do you have more than enough linked above to reveal the truth that is hiding in plain sight?

2018 will be a year to watch.

Expect some more revelations, that you may only find published here on MHProNews. ## (News in review, commentary, analysis).

Related Topical Update:



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We agree with Warren Buffett on the value of the lessons of history, reading and research. Without those deep insights, the wool can be pulled over other people’s eyes.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended MH industry professionals in all of manufactured housing.

Socialists, Communists, Capitalists, Clarity, Smear, Truth, and “Kissing Ass”

September 27th, 2017 No comments

Stating the Obvious for clarity. It’s complex world, where the agendas are often hidden or disguised. It isn’t always easy to know the truth on a subject. In manufactured housing, that’s also the reality.  Knowing the truth can be challenging.

We’ll get to the he headline later, but for now, please let me note the following.

We love:

  • this industry,
  • family, faith, flag, and free enterprise (if my wife is reading this, not necessarily in that order of importance).

We are pro-success, done ethically. Because we believe in a Supreme Authority, our values ideally are guided and enlightened by those ultimate truths. Having laid out our principles in often detailed statements before, let’s jump beyond that to the topic for today.


Hey, there are some who just don’t have a free will choice, due to some circumstance. But others play the game because they think they benefit from it. The reality in manufactured housing is, exposing the game and playing it straight is more profitable than playing the game, or kissing someone’s donkey.

The Smear

One popular example from the left of “the smear” is to call whoever opposes them “a racist.” It’s been used for so long, it ought to be worn out by now.  The right can use Smear tactics too.


The reason Smear Tactics can still be effective is because millions are too busy, to distracted by work, family, friends, sports, drink, drugs, sex, the tube, social media, or whatever else.

But today, there are other media options beyond the mainstream media.

This publication seeks to serves what is good and the truth as it is known and understood to be.

We have in the past given the benefit of the doubt to certain voices, until the doubt has been removed by a long preponderance of evidence carefully examined, and shared with you, the Industry’s:

  • Owners, executives, managers, and rising stars,
  • Investors,
  • Political operatives and elected officials,
  • Mainstream media,
  • Researchers, educators and political officials.


Some in MHLand:

  • have egos the size of Texas,
  • blow with the wind,
  • will kiss any ugly -ss for a dollar,
  • just don’t know,
  • are into their habits so deeply, they don’t see reality, etc.

During the 2016 campaign, Warren Buffett said he supported what
Sec. Hillary Clinton
supported. That’s why he backed Clinton.
Sec. Clinton supported Dodd-Frank and the CFPB.
Do you see the disconnect
between MHI’s stated
position on CFPB and Preserving Access,
and what Warren Buffett said several times?



The truth about MHI is in several ways hiding in plain sight. But the MHProNews exclusively obtained documents from Tim Williams speaks volumes. But only to those with an open mind to reality, vs. fantasy. Click here to see the brief, yet powerful, report.


The slide is from then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage Corp. Isn’t it obvious that what Williams was saying was the polar opposite of what Warren Buffett supported?  Are we to believe that MHI’s chair that worked for Buffett opposed Buffett’s positions?  Arrows and commentary in red from the Masthead blog,

But a number of others have no choice for economic reasons have to play the MHI game, but they don’t like what is going on, and help inform us all they can.


Those later sources often provide priceless insights. Thank you, one and all.

IReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM-comMHProNews (1)

Got a tip?  Document of general interest?  Help us help the industry.

Then, there are straight up supporters or those who are allied through mostly common visions or interests.


Quick History – Conspiracy Theories and Reality

James Watt was the Secretary of the Interior Department, under President Ronald Reagan.

He was known as a pithy comments and quote machine. He has several interesting insights you can find on those quotable quotes websites, or Wikipedia.


But the following quote of Watt’s I can’t find anywhere online, so I was not able to verify it precisely.  It goes something like this.

I don’t believe in what are commonly known as conspiracy theories. What I do believe in are people with common interests, acting in ways that benefit their common interests and that therefor look to be conspiratorial.’ – James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior.

That was so powerful, it has long stuck with me. Does it apply to manufactured housing? “We Provide, You Decide.” ©


“Conspiracy” Hiding in Plain Sight?

Set against the James Watt point that people with common interest often behave in ways that align with those interests – thus appearing to be conspiratorial –  let’s note the following.

If you or I are accused or questioned about something that’s demonstrably not true,
the normal person simply disproves the allegation, and moves on.



So, if the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the powers-that-be behind MHI can readily disprove the array of questions and concerns about their favoritism and performance, why don’t they do so?


Isn’t it likely they are ducking out precisely because the accusations are true? Because they have no good come-back?


Why didn’t MHI ask to use this image, or create one like it of their own? Could it be that that Berkshire Hathaway owned companies like Clayton, VMF or 21st would benefit, whether or not the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act bill passed or not?  Sources tell MHProNews that the non-profits would have made a deal on the MLO rule, which would have benefited every MH Lender and every retailer, communities, and consumers.  Why didn’t MHI take that deal?  Why spend millions and fail? Or was that pro noted above correct, that BH profits either way, so why compromise at all?  Didn’t they win if it failed, or win if they succeeded?

The Truth is Hiding in Plain Sight


Whatever MHI wants to say about trying to cut back on HUD overreaches, it is obvious that the easiest possible step is to ask the Trump Administration to have Pam Danner reassigned.  Why do they duck the obvious conflict between their words and deeds? Photo – Pam Danner, JD, addressing MHI members. Photo credit, MHProNews.

  • Pam Danner
  • Lois Starkey
  • Duty to Serve (DTS) (FHFA/GSEs)
  • CFPB and Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – Opportunities Missed
  • Monopolistic Practices that use Heavy Regulations to Force more Consolidations
  • Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) and enhanced preemption
  • Racism and Steering
  • Not Defending the Industry and its Image, etc., etc.

These are just some of the issues that have arisen or been spotlighted in roughly the last two two years.


Some date back further, such as a column in 2014 that spotlighted the high cost – and risks to the industry – from low volumes of new home sales.  That risk to independents is hitting the industry again now, in the growing FEMA fiasco.


Insider Sources

We have used a combination of inside voices off the record and visible professionals speaking on the record. While we often agree with MHARR, we are not joined at the hip.


Perhaps the most compelling for thoughtful readers are the quotes from people in MHI, in their own words. Videos and their own written statements, carefully analyzed in the light of known facts.

From within the Berkshire Hathaway owned family of Clayton, Vanderbilt, 21st and other units;

From within MHI,

From state, professional, and third-party groups studying the industry – often with no axe to grind – MHProNews has provided a series of reports and exposes unlike anything that the industry has ever seen.


MHI, Clayton, 21st and VMF have not engaged directly in public on these issues. But they have done so indirectly and often behind the scenes.  They don’t try to refute/disprove us, rather, they try other alleged tactics to undermine our efforts – which benefit the bulk of the industry’s professionals and investors.

Long term, our call to reform MHI and their alleged monopolistic masters would benefit them too.  Because monopoly inevitably leads to a break up, and it harms the market place, public and society.  That’s why there are laws against monopolies.

Thinkers simply have to wonder: why do the mega-rich take a public position that seems to contradict their own interests?  Isn’t the obvious answer from years of evidence that they posture one thing, do another, because it has worked for them time and again?


Breaking Up is Hard to Do

We’ve taken our precautions.

We’ve called out the powers that be to debate, or discuss, or be interviewed on video, so all can see it.  They duck, dodge, detract, distract, delay, etc. If they were right, they’d simply publicly seek to prove me to be a fool. Why are they reluctant to stand up for their track record? Do they de facto admit that they lack success at their own stated goals?


The reason thousands come – including they and their allies daily – is because we say what’s real and support allegations with credible evidence.


MHI Meetings, Networking and Events Can Be Replaced

The one thing that we hear that MHI ‘does okay with’ are their networking meetings.  That brings real value to some professionals.  But IMHO, they could be done better and for less.

We can’t say if MHARR will expand after their November 2017 meeting. But they have publicly supported the need for a third association that truly represents the “post-production” sector of MH – meaning others besides factory home builders.


There was some movement by a few groups to do a true association, they’ve never come to pass.

It would be very profitable for the industry to do so.  Ironically, it could benefit the big players over time too. Because monopolies tend historically to fail over time, and harm many along the way to failure.


Note, quoting someone on a topic should not be construed to imply we agree on all topics. That said, the above by George Allen on his own blog was interesting.

The industry is growing faster beyond Clayton and Cavco, their own statistics prove it.


It’s time for the break up, since MHI has declined offers to reform itself.

Industry Pros Question the Effectiveness of National Association – Bob Crawford and Frank Rolfe from ManufacturedHome-ModularHomeNews on Vimeo.


NewManufacturedHousing1trillion9PercentNew1percentExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsFinally, we will continue to spotlight politics, because it routinely impacts our industry in clear or subtle ways. I know some question our support for the president and his agenda. We appreciate the candid feedback from those who see that topic differently.

While the GOP – as an independent, I’m not a member of that or any other political party – may be gripped by its identity crisis, the Trump wing is gaining ground.  As odd as it sounds, the victory of Roy Moore over Luther Strange in the Alabama Senate primary proves that to be true.

The RINOs – perhaps better known as the “Establishment” Republicans – will, if this pattern continues, fade from the scene over time.

Americans are seeking to take back their country.

Manufactured housing professionals want to take back their industry.

The two go hand in hand.  That’s why we supported Donald J. Trump when MHI put two pro-Clinton speakers on their stage just days before the election last November.

Manufactured Home Industry Leaders Praise MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

The hypocrisy and the game playing, the masks and deception are coming to an end.

When their allegedly manipulative music stops, watch a growing number of industry pros exit MHI.  They won’t want to be associated with that crew.

In the meantime, we’ll be spotlighting the issues that can help industry professionals and investors maximize their returns and success.

Read the news and commentary.  Consider what it means to you.  Then, think about how you and your location and organization can benefit by applying the insights you find here on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews.

You don’t have to spend a dime with us to do that, do you?

Of course, for those who see the value of what we do, it is common sense to support our efforts.  Because no other organization in the history of the industry has produced more pro-industry insights and defended the industry more than MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

We are only able to do so thanks to sponsors and client support.

Allegations, Reality and the Future

The powers that be have already lost, they may not realize it yet.  The momentum has shifted.

With the masks, and smoke screens falling and blowing away, the industry can grow at a pace it has only dreamed about for years.

We and select clients know how that is done.  Its profitable, and done at the local level.

Think about why MHI has turned us down time and again, and failed to respond time and again.  Think about why – on an issue as simple as Pam Danner being exited from her role in the manufactured housing program office at HUD – they won’t take a public stand for doing that, even when a growing number of their own members want that to take place.

Yes, we think the days of MHI and their masters as it has existed are about over.  Oh, they’ll continue on in some form or fashion, because Berkshire Hathaway and their allies need an organ like MHI.

But for the majority of members, aren’t you feeding the hand that bites yours?  ## (Commentary, analysis, news.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)


By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.




Obscene Profit Break

January 13th, 2017 No comments

Obscene” is how some people tragically view private enterprise, perhaps unaware of all the good that free enterprise has done to lift billions out of poverty.

Profit Break” aptly describes the promise of this year, the promise of the trade show season and key elements of today’s Masthead.


Via the Daily Business News, we’ve taken the time to outline that consumer, builder and business has all consistently signaled growing confidence, in many cases the most confidence in about a decade.

Manufactured home pros echo those sentiments.

So the time is coming for what the enemies of capitalism and the free market call the “obscene profit break” is upon us.

What Goes Around, Comes Around…

Support Us as We Support You” could be a tag line for the industry’s top trade media in the future.

Our operation depends on the support of others, and our efforts benefits the good name and professionalism of manufactured housing alongside the MHIndustry’s millions of satisfied homeowners.

Before diving into the list below, let’s mention that we have supporters who are ‘invisible,’ and we tip a visible hat to those ladies and gents too.  Our team, experts and writers are of course also part of this platform’s potent mix.

The following are operations that are reported to be attending Louisville 2017.  We hope you will give them an opportunity to earn your business, or that you will thank them by allowing them to keep your business if you already do business with them.

It’s not exactly a coin toss and it isn’t alphabetical, but we shuffled the deck and in no particular order, we will take a look at some of the operations whose support in 2016 – or starting in 2017 – that make and possible.

Sunshine Homes
= Residential Style, Energy Star Rated, Manufactured & Modular Homes


= Real Estate Brokerage


Triad Financial Services
Manufactured Home Focused Lending for over 50 Years.

triadfinancialservices_200x200_allwedo bannerad 2

Northpoint Commercial Finance
= Floor plan lending


Clayton Homes

claytonhomes_mhc-haveitbuilt_200x200_v1 1

CU Factory Built Lending


21st Mortgage




Security Mortgage Group
Commercial Real Estate Financing, Refinancing
Award Winning, Full Line Services to MH Communities


= Home Warranty Company

MHWC - 2016 - MHProNews June Ad.indd

UMH Properties



= MH Industry Image, Retail Branding & Shopping Service


Grenade Marketing
= Reputation Management and Related Positive Branding Services


See the Louisville Show website, at this link here.


Make sure you take your business cards with you and a photo ID to enter the show.


Photo credit,

FYI, team MHProNews/MHLivingNews will be represented at the show by the Kovach family, please swing by booth #221 and say hi.  We may just have something interesting for you, that will lead to increased profits in 2017, and beyond.

Yes, we all need a BIG profit break in 2017. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)


Team Kovach, (l-r) Soheyla (pronounced “So Hey La”), Tamas (pronounced “Tah Mash”) and Tony Kovach (pronounced “Co-Vatch” like a “Watch with a V”). The Kovach family, along with Matthew Silver, Jan Hollingsworth, Charles Drake plus many volunteers and sponsors who join together to bring you the MH Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. © Photo above, from 83 Degrees Media.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Analysis-SeattleTimes-BuzzFeed allege – Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes Exploit Minorities?

December 30th, 2015 No comments

First, a programming note – the new January 2016 issue of MHProNews monthly Featured Articles are scheduled to go live by the evening of Saturday, January 2nd. 


Photo/Image collage credits = Warren Buffett photo, UK Telegraph, Seattle Times, BuzzFeed, Clayton Homes logos, belong to each respective firm; click here or the graphic above to see the report.

Next, we will keep this simple. Some don’t understand, or dislike, free enterprise. Some don’t get it that when you make loans that create opportunities for home ownership to those with marginal credit, you will have a higher default rate.

We reported weeks ago in a video interview with attorney and MH lending expert, Marty Lavin, his statement that the success rate for those big MH lenders making loans to those with marginal credit was some 83%. That ought to be celebrated. Instead, the duo below villify it. Should the vast majority be forced to rent, thanks to those with an agenda to protect Dodd-Frank instead of the minorities and working people they claim to want to “protect?” 


Agenda journalists? Mike Baker, left; Daniel Wagner. right. Photo credits – l- nfoic, r – talking biz news, all photos, logos and images are used per fair use guidelines.

We have an extensive report on the Seattle Times/BuzzFeed story, which attacks Warren Buffett – for purposes of sensationalism and increased clicks – Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, linked here. Your thoughts and feedback, are welcome. 

Let’s do what it takes to make 2016 a much, much better year than the past few have been. ##


L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, speaking at the recent New York Housing Association meeting. Tony will be presenting at the 2016 Tunica MH Show.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Tidal Shifts, Time Warp and the Next Level

November 30th, 2015 No comments

USA Today reported that: “As retailers seamlessly transitioned from Black Friday deals to Cyber Monday deals as early as Saturday, they were riding the tailwind of a shopping weekend that found more than 103 million people say they had or planned to shop online Thursday through Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation’s consumer sentiment survey of 4,281 people out Sunday. That’s compared to nearly 102 million people who shopped in stores during the four-day period.


Kohl’s in Lakeland, FL Thanksgiving after 7 PM. Photo credit,

NRF is catching flack for shifting from hard data to polling-style samples. We’ll see how that plays out.  Here’s more from USA Today:

While the organization (NRF) can’t compare to last year’s figures, initial feedback from retail executives and shoppers show that the holiday season is on track to hit an expected 3.7% increase in sales, says NRF president and CEO Matt Shay….”

“…More than 151 million people shopped, compared with about 136 million who said they were going to shop, NRF found. And despite earlier start times to sales, Black Friday remains the most popular day to shop, as more than 74 million people hit stores the day after Thanksgiving, compared with 34.6 million who shopped in stores on Thanksgiving, NRF says.”

We were part of all of the above – as you likely where too – and the photos captured Thanksgiving Thursday reflected amazingly long lines at retailer Kohl’s. There are a number of possible takeaways in the above numbers for our industry.


Lakeland has about 100,710 population. The Kohl’s store at Lakeland Center had 12 open registers, and two lines for check out that went from the front of the store, around both sides and clear to the back of the store.

MHMarketers, Heads up…

For example. It’s still a trickle, but the full blown clicks vs bricks race in retail is seeing some late blooming mirroring in MH. While still tiny in the MH Industry, there are more anecdotal reports being heard of MH buyers who shop, order, apply and buy a home without ever walking into the MH retailer’s office. That’s clicks vs. bricks.

Savvy MH pros wants to be on both sides of that equation.  Please look at these images from the retail stores.  Tell me what they ought to suggest to MH retailers, communities, manufacturers and other vendors?

Naturally, online sales aren’t nearly as likely to happen for firms that have a poor website, or who fail to provide shoppers what they need to know via the Internet and by phone. Part of that involves online reputation and recommendations, and we’ll be carrying another column in the upcoming December from MH veteran Wayne Coakley on that topic.


The National Retail Foundation (NRF) projects that gift cards alone will hit $25.9 billion this Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas shopping season. Deloite’s projected some $965 billion in total holiday sales. Meanwhile, MH is muddling along 4.52 billion for the year in new MH sales. People are spending money. There will be a trillion dollars spent on housing in 2015, and a trillion dollars on cars, and nearly a trillion dollars on holiday sales. Do you see that we could be doing so much better than we currently are as an industry?

The Time Warp

Needless to say, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, but odds are that we’ve all known occasions when time seemed to move fast, and other times, slowly. Starting around Thanksgiving, the ‘time warp’ effect of the holidays hit. We’ll suddenly be in 2016, as well as the primary season in politics, and the show season for manufactured housing.

The Next Level


Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage CEO and MHI Chairman.

Let me thank Tim Williams – 21st Mortgage CEO and MHI Chairman – for a very thoughtful and valued letter he provided last week on:

The Importance and Value of Independent MH Trade Publications

We are closer than ever to passing the Dodd-Frank fixes into law we need for our consumers and sellers. Don’t let the time warp of the holidays distract you from taking the few minutes need to do the following. Call your two Senators offices and ask them:

To support inclusion of Section 909 – which has S 682 – as a rider to the Senate Appropriations Bill S 1910.”

S 682, as regular readers know is The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which the House passed last spring in their bill – HR 650. You can find your Congressman and two U.S. Senators via in seconds.

Then, get and stay engaged in what’s happening in your industry. Set an example for your colleagues and team members, by reading, writing, calling and sharing.  As CU’s Barry Noffsinger said, you be the change.

3 years ago, MHI cited the number of full time equivelents (FTEs) working in MH at about 100,000. Let’s say that’s closer to 150,000 FTEs (+?) today. Almost all of you have a Facebook page. Almost all email, are online, and know others in and out of MH. When a growing number of MH Pros shares what’s on with the world, the world will increasingly understand MH. Educating the public on the facts vs. the myths will yield more sales.

When more in our industry are into the best practices that associations and the expert writers on shares,

> we’ll serve the public better,
> we’ll have fewer legal hassles,
> we’ll sell more homes.


15 minutes a day on and 15 minutes a day on It pays off.


John Bostick, Sunshine Homes CEO and prior MHARR Chairman.

John Bostick, CEO of Sunshine Homes and prior Chairman of MHARR likes to say, “Easy Doesn’t Pay Well.” Taking a few minutes a day to keep up and grow professionally, that may not seem easy for those who are not yet into the habit. Others would have to cut back if they went DOWN to 15 minutes a day. Those who do those extra steps, are often the leaders and better performers.

Be a leader. Start now doing what leaders do, because all leaders are readers. Leaders don’t just talk,

  • they do,
  • they encourage and
  • they lead by example.

The tidal shifts, time warp and next level are at hand. Retail has recovered far more than MH has. We have to be more professional if we are to grow into the kinds of sustainable selling that will make us the powerhouse of housing in the future we can be.


Manufactured housing’s recovery is way too slow.  No doubt, CFPB regulations has harmed us, as their own HMDA data suggests.  But let’s be clear, we can, should and must set our sights higher as an industry. Please see Tim William’s message, linked here. Image credit, Calculated Risk.


The video linked above has been one of the most viewed on MHLivingNews during November. See why. Joey Tidmore, Chet Murphree, Robert Gann are featured in the video linked from the still graphic above, or click here.

Programing note: expect the new issue to be live on the home page Wednesday, December 2nd, around mid-afternoon. We’ll have some great columns, business protecting and building items and new videos for you to get into! Until then, go do or sell something good! ##


L. A. “Tony’ Kovach will be presenting on marketing and sales the evening before the start of the 2016 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Carlyle Scores plus Mad as Hell – America and MHVille

October 28th, 2015 No comments

Before we dive into our main theme, a note that the Carlyle Group has just announced a $150 million dollar deal. You’ll see this covered in the read-hot Daily Business News blog. So the MHC consolidation trend moves on, and Carlyle increases their footprint in MH.

That said, let’s move onto our main mid-week Masthead blog topic.

Mad as Hell


In the classic 70s movie, Network, character Howard Beal announces on air that he’s madder than hell, and won’t take it any more. Millions today feel the same. Graphic credits, Soshable and MGM.  Its worth noting that the fictional UBS network in this movie presaged the rise of CNN, Fox News and a host of news and other broadcast and cable networks.

Yahoo Answers has a post which explains that the phase Mad as Hell is “often used to mean the MOST EXTREME ANGER POSSIBLE, as in the movie “Network” where Howard Beal says over and over: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

In the U.S. and MHVille today, there exists a full spectrum of emotions.  We’ll glance at them all, but Mad as Hell is among them.

home-sales-rising-housing-wire-com-credit-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com- (2)

MH shipments have risen 5 straight years, but we are still but a shadow of production from the early 00s. Growing sales graphic, credit housingwire.

Some in our MH Industry, even during the depth of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, we’re saying how profitable they were. One MHC pro told me then, “TonyI’m working harder than ever before, but I’m also making more money than ever before.”

That’s not unique in the MHC sector, where REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts – eg: ELS, SUN, UMH), mid-to larger companies and savvy independents are doing quite well. But that doesn’t mean that all in the MHC sector are soaring. Many have struggles.

We could say the same about other sectors in the Industry.

For example. With MH Retailers, transporters and installers, it depends on who you talk to and where in the U.S. they are as to whether they are smiling, stressing, successful, struggling, etc..

Ditto associations.  Some associations are on life support, others are okay or are rebounding.  Some managed quite well, even during the depths of the downturn.


Anger credit by Malcolm Brown, PhotoShopCreative-co-uk-.

MHVille and American Anger

In a narrow sense, professionals in MH  could be said to mirror the greater population. Why are record numbers tuning into these early Republican and Democratic presidential debates? Part of the answer is suggested by polling, which shows that 2 out of 3 (some are as high as 70%) believe the nation is on the wrong course.

So millions are:

  • Feeling the Bern of self-proclaimed socialist, Bernie Sanders, or

  • are rooting for The Donald to Make America Great Again,

  • or are for the surging retired brain surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson;

and so on down the list.

The reason that Speaker of the House John Boehner is exiting is because enough of his fellow Republicans were mad as hell at how he caves into the POTUS Obama Agenda.

There and millions of voters are mad as hell, and like Howard Beal in the movie Network, are not going to take it any more.

Pundits in the spring of 2015 thought insider Jeb Bush was ‘inevitable.’ Now, they’re talking about the very real possibility that Jeb could be toast by the time the South Carolina primary hits next spring.  There are talking heads who think Bush could find a reason to drop out before the primaries start, if his poll numbers don’t rise rapidly.

America isn’t just angry on the right. There is anger on the left too.

While Democrats might be seen as more cohesive than Republicans in recent years, that doesn’t mean there isn’t frustration in their camp. Isn’t it ironic that the Black Lives Matter movement is taking off during the time when the U.S. has its first black president? Isn’t it odd that under this president, we’re seeing more minority unemployment, more on food stamps, more on welfare, more violence in the cities, etc.?

For all the hoopla over the ACA (ObamaCare):

  • premiums are rising,

  • state exchanges are imploding after hundreds of millions in losses,

  • millions are still uninsured.

None of the grand ObamaCare expectations of money saved, promises of keeping your doctor or coverage are being met.  The ACA/ObamaCare has never been popular with the majority of Americans.  Yet we still have it.  How is that democratic?

So of course there is anger, when so many politicos are not even talking about issues like ObamaCare that much.


Affordability is relative! All demographic and income groups are discovering modern manufactured housing. But regulators are often a barrier to more MH sales and greater acceptance.

We won’t tick through all the foreign and domestic policy issues, charges of corruption or mismanagement, that are the cause of the angst and anger on both sides of the political aisle.

Sufficient to say that when most Americans are seeing their incomes fall since 2007, those who are better off are in the minority. There is risk in that reality.  But there are also opportunities…

Ignore the Anger at your Peril or Tap into it for Your Benefit

As an association member and supporter, we hear from those who are not in an association or those who are in, but are not happy.

Some see MH associations in almost political party terms. Establishment members, and the silent majority. Those in associations are seen by many as:

  1. the insiders, who are running the show,
  2. while the independents are marginalized or feel they are shut out.

Tim Williams, heads up 21st Mortgage and MHI’s newly elected Chairman.

The new MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, has said he wants to see changes to address those concerns. Certainly Don Glisson Jr, during his chairmanship wanted to see changes too.


Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, an award winning, 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

The Next Move?

The correct moves might tap that energy that currently lies beyond any given association’s membership.

But it will take a real effort to bring professionals into associations who either don’t see the value of feel they are voiceless.

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)


M. Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR, which represents independent HUD Code MH builders.

On the MHARR side of the association aisle, MHARR CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD, has issued a white paper on how HUD has handled the MH program. We’ll share that in its entirety in the new November 2015 issue, which should be live by Sunday night. Note that a source at MHI tells the Masthead they’ll have a published position on this topic by Friday.

America, MH Associations and the MH Rank and File

On the Masthead, we often tee up an issue and then propose the solution. Today, let’s have the issue merely be. Lets speak what is, what others feel (as noted above), and then let you ponder or comment.

There is Anger in America, and Frustration by many in MHVille.  

There is also apathy, which is a helpless cousin of anger. There is some affluence too, which the big deals that are cooking or the Carlyle deal noted above exemplify. But those big deals can actually fuel the apathy and anger. Thousands in MH, and tens of millions of Americans are mad as hell.

There is certainly opportunity in our economic and political malaise. But there is also risk.

…And you say…? ##


L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach at the recent New York Housing Association annual meeting. Tony is one of the most recognized and popular speakers and personalities in all of the MH Industry.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.